August Cooking Challenge


In August, I set out to challenge fears that I think are holding me back, instead of keeping me safe. The details of my challenge are here. In my last post you can read about my trip to Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah, where I had several opportunities to challenge my fears of heights and extreme weather.

This month I also set out to challenge my fear of germs.

This fear originated about a decade ago. At that time, I was newly diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease that causes your body to attack your colon. The doctors cautioned me not to get sick, as the medication I was on temporarily would make it more challenging for my body to recover from everyday illnesses. This fear was reinforced by a bout of food poisoning that aggravated the UC and sent me to the ER.

Today, I am grateful to be feeling well, but the fear lingers and impacts me in several ways. I love to cook and try new foods, but I HATE cooking raw meat.  Kitchen safety is very important, buy I recognize that I’m overly concerned about catching a food-borne illness. This also causes friction with anyone else who happens to be in the kitchen, as I micro-manage anyone who is participating in the cooking process.

For this challenge, I picked two meals that I knew would be especially challenging for me to prepare, and set out to cook them with my bf. My goals were to 1) get through the cooking and deal with the raw food and 2) relax and not micro-manage the process.

For the first meal, I chose plantain chip crusted chicken. This recipe (I loosely followed this version, by Unbound Wellness) combines two things I love (plantain chips and chicken) and two things I can’t stand (cutting raw chicken and then coating it prior to cooking).

Cooking Chicken

For the second meal, I chose liver and onions and used this Primal Palate recipe as a guide.  I actually like the taste of liver, and I have been meaning to eat more of it due to its nutrient profile. However, the raw liver needs to be rinsed (ugh) and then cut into pieces. In this recipe, the liver is also pan cooked. I almost always opt to cook meat in the oven because once the food is in the oven, it’s completely hands off.

Cooking Liver and Onions

So – how did I do? I think I did well with this challenge. I got through the cutting and dipping of the chicken. My bf rinsed the chicken livers, and I backed off from my typical micro-management. I did wash my hands about 10 times, used some disposable kitchen gloves, and thoroughly cleaned the counter when we were done. But overall, this was a fun and quick challenge, and I wouldn’t hesitate to cook either of these recipes again.

As a bonus, the food was delicious!

About the Photo

I love food, and I used to eat out all the time, successfully avoiding cooking for the most part. More recently, I’ve been experimenting with various paleo and elimination protocols, which have forced me to get creative in the kitchen.


This bowl of veggies and spiced lamb is one of my simple, beautiful, and delicious go-to meals.


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